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RIM, Nokia: Tech's Losers Become Winners

Apple and Google's Android have a lock on the mobile phone market, right?

Conventional wisdom holds that nearly every smartphone sold will either be an iPhone or an Android. And anything beyond that is toast.

But this is tech, and fortunes can change quickly. Today's crowned champions have a solid position, but Wall Street isn't unanimous in its support of the two-party phone game.

Smartphones
Paul J. Richards | Getty Images
Smartphones

In the past month, shares of broken tech shop Research In Motion have surged more than 20 percent and phone rival Nokia is up 16 percent, as Wall Street puts its bets on the smartphone underdogs.

Call it a hedge bet. A gamble that there may be room for a third player in the Google/Apple arena.

For the past three years, both RIM and Nokia have been on the losing end of Apple and Google's smartphone assault. And both RIM and Nokia have had to redirect their strategies and retool products to get back in the game.

"It's tempting to think the new models could outperform expectations," said Tero Kuittinen, an independent industry analyst, referring to the new BlackBerry line up.

RIM managed to get its touchscreen Bold launched last month, just under the wire for its August deadline. Fans would score that as a much-need win after a gloomy losing streak.

Similarly, Nokia's bold attempt at revitalization hinges on the success of its upcoming Microsoft Windows 7 phones.

Kuittinen is less optimistic about an early sign of success from Nokia.

"Nokia's new Windows models are likely to arrive so late they will miss the Christmas season; so that rebound bet is probably even riskier than RIM's," said Kuittinen.

RIM shares, while down nearly 50 percent this year, have been up 25 percent in the past month. RIM was down 2 percent to $29.39 on Tuesday. Nokia is down 41 percent this year, but in the past month the stock has bounced off its low and risen 16 percent.

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Disclosures:

TheStreet's editorial policy prohibits staff editors, reporters and analysts from holding positions in any individual stocks.

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